For the seventh consecutive year, Cheryl D. Orr, partner and leader of Faegre Drinker’s international labor and employment practice and San Francisco office has been selected by the Daily Journal as one of the “Top Labor & Employment Lawyers.” The 2021 list recognizes California’s top attorneys who have made significant contributions in labor and employment law.
In the Daily Journal’s special edition, Orr describes the impact of the pandemic and subsequent shift to remote work shortly after the firm’s formation through the combination of Drinker Biddle & Reath and Faegre Baker Daniels. Orr said, “Our newly merged AmLaw50 firm combined in February 2020 and began sheltering in place one month later. A year and a half down the road, it could not be going better.”
As the pandemic begins to wane and people gradually phase back into office life, Orr reflects on working virtually and its many advantages. She said, “Our team (and our profession generally) were well positioned to help our clients with the onslaught of Covid-related advice that remains to this day. Being in the trenches allowed us to bond with our new colleagues and spend even more face time with clients, albeit virtually.”
She anticipates that the continuance of virtual meetings will be a positive takeaway from the pandemic.
Orr’s litigation practice focuses on strategically resolving federal and state class, collective and California Private Attorneys General Act actions, as well as particularly sensitive and thorny single-plaintiff matters. Her litigation experience positions her to work with employers to prevent and/or remedy underlying issues. She and her team provide the full range of employment law counseling, investigation, training and audits (wage and hour, pay equity and human resources compliance) services.
During the pandemic shutdowns, Orr said that the confidential and neutral employee aspect of her practice has been on the rise, explaining that, “While most workplaces have been remote, claims have been raised that both pre-date the virtual environment and that arose during the pandemic. Claims have included national origin, race and sex discrimination, defamation and retaliation. We appreciate the opportunity to investigate thoroughly the underlying facts in a timely manner.”
Orr also said that with courts largely closed, arbitrations have taken on new importance.
“We generally find the forum works to our clients’ advantage. In one tranche of over 100 cases we represented the individual defendants (largely C-suite executives and Board members) in suits brought by couriers for a food delivery service who alleged they were misclassified as independent contractors. Post-AB5 these workers are clearly properly classified. A global settlement was reached before any of the cases we were handling reached hearings in the merits. In the cases we have been taking to hearing we have been pleased with the efficiency and outcomes,” Orr said.